The Right to Life and the Value of Life

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Punishing those who assist those wishing to take their lives, more so in the context of terminal illness and unbearable pain, is illogical to say the least.

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Prohibiting euthanasia negates human rights provisions in the Constitution pertaining to human dignity and the right of individuals to security and control over their bodies. The reasons for not changing the current prohibitive law regarding euthanasia, such as the possibility of abuse due to family pressures motivated by financial challenges, do not justify the prohibition and its blanket application as a response to a problem that can be regulated by good controls.

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These controls would include, for example, approval of euthanasia by a panel of physicians — one of the requirements in some of the countries where euthanasia is already permitted. The issue of cultural and religious concerns as a basis for not permitting euthanasia has the effect of imposing those views on the whole of society.

This is not only unfair but negates an important principle that the enjoyment and practice of culture and religion should not be inconsistent with other provisions of the Bill of Rights, more so the right to dignity which is the basis for euthanasia. The current prohibition constitutes an unjustifiable limitation on the right to dignity for those who want to end their lives.

Right to life

It would not meet the requirements of the limitation clause which is dependent on, among other things, an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom, which in this regard entails the right to die with dignity, as is the right given to those who commit suicide on their own. There is certainly a need to review our laws and attitudes as a society in relation to the right of individuals to choose to end their lives and to be duly and appropriately assisted by others if their sense of dignity leads them to this conclusion.

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  8. There is increasing support for the removal of the prohibition of euthanasia and law makers should take heed. Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. The Right to Life and Conflicting Interests Elizabeth Wicks Abstract The right to life is a core human right which has not yet received the detailed legal analysis that it requires. More The right to life is a core human right which has not yet received the detailed legal analysis that it requires. Authors Affiliations are at time of print publication.

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    Narratives of Death and Democracy

    We need then to show care for all life and for the life of everyone. Catholics, and all people by their common humanity, are called to be concerned about abortion and euthanasia, education and health care, capital punishment and crime, war and hunger, and a much lengthier list of issues impacting the dignity of human life.

    In fact, we are called to see the person before we see the issue. With this view, we are not so much concerned about homelessness as we are about the homeless person; we do not simply look at capital punishment, but at the person on death row. This makes sense from many angles. If, for example, one sees killing as a solution to the problems of society, that view encourages capital punishment as well as abortion.